Monday, May 30, 2022

Memorial Day 2022

Memorial Day. I cannot remember if I have ever written anything about Memorial Day on or near Memorial Day. Just to cover my bases, here is a post on Memorial Day about the Memorial Day I am experiencing.

I began and mostly finished a long, somewhat detailed post honoring family members and friends who spent time as warriors defending the honor of the United States. It was in the neighborhood of 2500 words at least. The whole time I was writing it my focus was on telling their story instead of honoring their sacrifice. I finished it, checked it over, and set it in the out tray I keep handy somewhere in my mind. I had every intention of just punching "publish" and then moving on with my day.

I made the mistake, which I often do, of one last proofread this morning with my first cup of coffee. Halfway through, I stopped reading and started a new post, which you see right here in front of you. All those other words I wrote yesterday for today are headed to the trash can. I didn't slave over them or anything. I don't slave over words. Writing words are a pleasure and there are always more where the trashed ones came from.

So, its Memorial Day and I would like to honor some family and a friend for their efforts to defend our country and its ideals.

Uncle George - WW II - Was a B-17 pilot captured by the Japanese when the Philippines fell on my birthday, April 9, 1942. He survived beatings, starvation, disease, the Bataan Death March and the Hell Ships. He was freed weighing in at less than 100 pounds in the Fall of 1944. Though he lived another 44 years, he was never the same, emotionally or physically. He may not have died, but he certainly sacrificed of his body and soul for us.

Uncle Herb - WW II - Spent his war island hopping in the Pacific as a Marine. He never once opened his mouth about his experience in my presence. I tried to quiz him when I was maybe ten and my brain was chock full of damn the torpedoes, John Wayne heroic fantasies I had enjoyed at Saturday matinees. I remember him just sitting for some moments and then quietly saying something like, "Nobody should have to experience war." And that was all I ever got out of him. My aunt did say, after he returned from the Pacific he never slept more than three or four hours a night the rest of his life. 

My father -WW II - An Army Air Corp observation pilot who came through WW II unscathed physically. The mental and emotional price, well, he came out of his thirty-one year Air Force career an Old Grand Dad whiskey bottle a day alcoholic. He lived life hard and kept his military tales to himself. Stiff upper lip shit. He was indeed a tough man.

Brother Doug - Vietnam years - Doug lucked out I guess. He missed Nam and spent his time in the Army mostly in Germany translating radio transmissions from East Germany to other parts of the globe. But serving is serving and his time and efforts deserve some props just like the others.

Rich, my junkie buddy - Vietnam Years - When I had fallen into the dark world of  intravenous drug use in the summer of 1970, I bought some smack from a fellow who was just back from Vietnam a few months earlier. We became needle buddies. He had gotten hooked in Nam and constantly whined about the quality of the Heroin in the States, but would never talk about his time or what he did in Nam. One day I climbed on the back of Rich's 440 BSA one lung-er and rode down with him to Dupont Circle in DC and scored some H. He dropped me off at home and then motored out of my life. He was found dead the next day with a needle still in his arm. 

I always felt Rich gave his life for us, it just took him until he had been home a couple of years.

Bobbie my nephew - Iraq- 2005 - Perhaps losing Bobbie was the biggest blow to me. He and my daughter Lis were only months apart in age. I will always remember him as a child and never as a man. And that always makes me deeply sad.

These are the people in my life whose lives were profoundly changed by America at War. These are the people in my life who willingly took that challenge on their shoulders and carried it as far as they could. 

That's it I guess; my token gesture this Memorial Day to help me and anyone who reads this to understand that no matter how we feel about war, we all owe someone who went to war a deep gratitude for standing up for us when their time came.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ...........................................


Its a two fer this post. Otherwise - "Soldiers" and The Doors - "The Unknown Soldier"

Friday, May 27, 2022

The Redundancy of Bad News

I often write by using one train of thought as my introduction and then following up with the next thought, and then the next thought. By the second or third paragraph and many trains of thought have left my station, I finally grab one and hold on. It is as if I have to sift through the confusion swirling inside my brain before I manage to find a point I can focus on.

This post is a perfect example. 

When I woke up this morning after a fitful night of intermittent interruptions to my sleep, I knew I wanted to write about this latest mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. And now I am hoping to write about the growing redundancy of really bad news on an almost daily basis. And with the ugly occurrences of evil crossing our news screens 24/7 now, many of us have become numb and the death of 22 people is nothing but SSDD ( Same Shit, Different Day).

There is nothing I can say or write that I haven't already written regarding the horror of mass shootings. My first memory of writing about mass shootings was the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007 that left 32 people dead. I am as horrified as I was then, but now my horror has become so common place to deal with, all I can do is maybe feel some deep sadness and a twinge of guilt over what I have no clue. All I know is, in a week I will be horrified again by some new catastrophe and Uvalde will begin to fade into my sunset as Buffalo has done since Uvalde.

I so want to write the same boiler plate anguished anger I always have. But I won't. It does nothing to fix the problem. Venting does not make me feel better anymore. And frankly, I think all of us are so weary of this constant barrage of not just bad news, but explosively evil news of humans doing their evil best to ruin all of our days. 

And maybe what I am so very, very heartbroken over is the rising pace of bad news redundancy. We can't catch our breath anymore. Wars, pandemics, mass shootings fill our days now. Is this the future of Life here in the States? Tell you what, if it is a sign of things to come, then I am just happy I am on the down stroke of my time on this tortured rock.

I just took a lunch break. While stuffing a sandwich in my pie hole, I watched and listened to a news interview of Texas State Senator, Roland Gutierrez(D) whose home area is Uvalde ( District 19). His obvious pain and anguish broke through any numbness I was busy erecting to defend myself from the after effects of this tragedy. He lost it and began blubbering and then so was I.

This is all so sad. This is all so hopeless it seems. There are literally no words I can come up with.

Later ................................................


Some facts as reported by Reuters


My song pick is a repeat from another time. It is a cover of "Over the Rainbow", by IZ
I dunno, it just seemed somehow appropriate.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

A Sunday, Long, Long Ago

I tried hard to get out of going to church that Sunday so long, long ago. My mom came into my room wearing her Sunday best and literally tried to drag me out of bed. I resisted by grabbing the headboard. 

"Mom, I feel sick, really sick. ........ Here, feel my head."

For once I was not using the "I'm sick" routine to avoid giving God his/her weekly due. I was actually ill; stomach gurgling, head on fire ill. 

Seems I had overstepped my reliance on that lie too often in the past. She was having none of it. She was determined to see me in church wearing that new suit she made me try on at Penny's the previous week.

"I did not get up early and spend an hour putting on my face to let you laze away this beautiful Sunday morning. Now, get up or I call your father."

Invoking the threat of my father's wrath indicated a level of commitment on her part I could not ignore.

"Okay, okay, I'm getting up."

Mom turned and started to leave my room but stopped at the door way. She turned around, leaned into the jam and focused her best evil eye on me. I did my best to respond in kind. But I was not up to the task. I capitulated, averted my gaze and threw one leg over the edge of the bed signalling my honest intention to get up. 

"Really Mom, I will be down soon."

Still burning a hole through me with that eye of hers, "Nah, I don't trust you. You'll go back to sleep before I make it to the kitchen. I am standing right here and watching you get dressed."

I went into immediate panic mode. It had been at least a few years since my mother watched me get dressed. I had become used to the security and safety of my own space. To add to my discomfort over dressing in front of my mother was I was a prepubescent boy just beginning to come to grips with the upcoming changes in my body and my attitude. Morning boners had become a regular and disturbing thing for me. I certainly did not want to, nor would I ever show my mom what had happened to me overnight while I slept.

"Mom, please, I will get up. Just leave okay?"

I wasn't sure if it was the obvious panic on my face or my desperate grip of the covers over my crotch that clued her in, but her hard face softened. She backed up into the hallway and grinned. 

"See you downstairs. Be quick. We don't want to be late."

My panic subsided and I put both feet on the floor. Sitting up reminded me of how sick I felt. A wave of nausea hit me and I puked a small bit of bile in my mouth. This incentive to head as quickly as possible to the bathroom kicked into gear a rush response on my part. I quickly gathered my clothes for church and using them as a shield to hide the embarrassing abnormality God had cursed me with, I made a dash for the bathroom.

Fifteen minutes later I was in the back seat of the family station wagon wishing I could die. I did not dare to look out the window at the sunny world buzzing by at its usual nauseating pace. Each time I peeked out the window, my stomach flipped. So I stared at the trash on the floor behind the front seat my litterbug hating parents refused to throw out onto the highway. I was reminded that I better clean the car out soon, or no allowance this week. The swap of focus to chores that needed doing allowed me enough of a distraction that I was able to avoid blowing chunks on the way to St. Albans Episcopal Church.

Sitting through the service was torture. My head was burning up. My stomach was alternating between cramping agony and threatening to enliven the somber proceedings with a technicolor yawn. I was miserable, but I had toughed it out. Now all I had to do is make it through Communion. ..... Yeah, Communion; the most ceremonial part of the service when the priest is in all his glory as he shares the pompous wonders of God's love and then puts hands to all who genuflect before him.

I look up and see that our row is next. Telling myself I can do this, I follow my parents to the barricade around the Altar. I kneel down and wait. I am sure our row is the longest one in church that morning as it takes the priest forever to work his way to me. In the meantime I can feel another wave of nausea building in my golliwots. I bite my lip in desperation to hold it in. It is almost my turn.... I feel I can make it ....... He holds out his hand  and, and, ................. I puke all over the priest from his knees down and cover his previously shiny shoes with the typical green gruel, vomit characteristically displays.

Mom was on one side of me. Dad was on the other. They both turned their heads and looked down at me. I wiped some residual barf from my mouth and looked up at one and then the other. Dad was grinning. Mom had that horrified and indignant look on her face she usually reserved for the lowlifes she might encounter occasionally in public. I looked up at the priest. His mouth was open, his eyes had bug eye look and he had stopped that nonstop mumbling of religious tomes he mumbled every Sunday. 

I jumped up and fled stage left, out the side entrance and slunk back to the family station wagon to await a sure execution when I got home.

Some minutes later, my parents showed up at the car. Mom was silent and stiff as she got in on the driver's side. My dad however, got in on the passenger side and turned to me sitting miserable in the back seat.

"You all done with the puking?"

I nodded my head. "I think so."

And those were the only words spoken on the way home until I puked on all that trash on the floor in the back seat a block from our house. 

My mom slammed on the brakes, pulled up the emergency brake and got out of the car. "I can't stand it." She looked hard at my father. "Bob, you know how I am about vomit." To emphasize her displeasure or commiseration with me, she held a hand over her mouth and began walking in the direction of home. "I'll see you at home."

My father slid over behind the wheel, released the brake and turned to me in the back seat. 

"Looks like you have a real mess to clean up now."


A Post Script - The barfing in church story is true and the unasked for erection story is also true. They happened at different times. I just thought it would be convenient to kill two boners with one post.


There was only one song that made sense for this post. It is by a band that was at least regionally famous on the Atlantic Seaboard back in the 1970s. I saw him once in B-More. An acquired taste maybe. Banned from playing certain venues maybe. But there is no doubt his band was talented.

Here is "Boogie Til You Puke" by Root Boy Slim & His Sex Change Band, along with the Rootettes.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Low Hanging Fruit

When I last cut my ties to the social media world and briefly va-kayed on a cerebral tropical isle free of the World's troubles, I told myself if I decided to return to the insidious jungle creep of the social networks, I would only comment or write blog posts occasionally on things political or religious. I discovered however, that for me, the only alternatives to political and religious commentary was staring at cute kitty pics and bad dad jokes.

Okay, okay, its not that bad. But I am indeed having trouble biting my tongue when the Right Wing conspires with the Holier Than Thou Thumpers to offer up so many, so often fat, rich targets of the low hanging fruit variety. They both lead with their chins. Their shenanigans are an addictive drug, an accident I cannot turn away from.

To combat their hold on me, I vowed to write no more than one political/religious bashing post a week that centered on the stupidity of the Right. It has been tough, but I have been mostly successful I guess regarding the political post limits I put in place.

What I did not account for was, not writing about something is easier than not reading about something. It turns out that my real addiction is not offering opinion and disdain, it was sucking in the massive quantities of hate, discontent, and lies  the Right and their Proselytizing  Crusaders for God live to disseminate among the foolish masses.

There is not enough time in the day to ingest all the daily nastiness the Right and their minions foist upon the socio-political landscape, physical and electronic. They are, if nothing else, busy little beavers intent on spreading their vicious virulent version of Reality into every corner of our country. It is not enough to pick on actual events and decisions the Left has blown, the Right feels the need to just make shit up and with straight faces, include it in the overall assault on common sense that they have been waging these last forty years.


I should feel better now that I relieved myself of some pent up anger for all things Right Wing. Sadly that was just a calming moment, a brief toot of my whistle. I will be full up again before night fall.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ............................................


Picking the music I think has become my favorite part of posting. ....... It only took a minute to locate, copy, and paste a link to the song I knew covered this post well.

"American Idiot", by Green Day was released in 2004. It is a song that not only has stood the march of time , it is more relevant today than ever. Best listened to volume that is cranked hard. And BTW, watch your head. Don't stand too close to objects you may bang your head on.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Dream On

About three weeks ago I picked up a cold; a nasty one as it turned out. I am still dealing with some residual effects. I figured at first it was the evil Covid. I self tested a couple of times and the test stick said, no, it was not Covid. As I had no experience with Covid, I didn't believe the sticks. But I still did not go to the doctor. I did the guy thing, the idiot thing, and put on my faux tough guy suit and waited it out.

After two weeks of misery, I slowly began to shed the worse symptoms and reassured myself that I was probably going to survive. I realized this was the first respiratory illness I have had since I quit smoking over four years ago. It was a much different experience than the colds I suffered through in my smoke em if you got em past. I felt healthier throughout the run of the cold. With the exception of that maddening period when my body wanted to cough the most when I was asleep, I came through just fine. I believe that being smoke free for four years may have prevented this cold from becoming a life threatening event, what with me now living life as an old fart.

It is my loss of sleep that segue's awkwardly into what I really want to write about.


While I was suffering the all night cough fests, the cycle of twenty minutes of semi comatose restlessness followed by five minutes of coughing stopped the dreaming. At least I stopped remembering any dream that might have visited while all my focus was on trying to not let the coughing send me screaming out into the dark of night.

Then last week, say Friday maybe, I finally had five hours of uninterrupted sleep. The dreams came back with a vengeance. I still did not remember them, but I knew I was dreaming. I would wake up trying my best to nail down the fantastic tale I had just spun for myself. The following nights when I was once again loving life with five hours of sleep per night, I began to remember bits and pieces of my dreams and they were disturbing.

Two mornings ago I awoke at my now usual 3:00 AM. I did not need to fish for a dream memory. The first thing I remember once I sat up was, I had just run over some guy while driving a huge SUV. I not only ran him over, but as I did it, I told myself  he deserved it. His face and why he deserved it was lost in the vague jibber jabber that is part of every dream I have. I was just sure he deserved it. And yes, I remember stepping out of the huge SUV, looking at his dead body and smiling with some satisfaction like a chapter had closed or a tale had run its course.

I was disturbed by this dream fragment. I do not remember ever having a dream where I enjoyed hurting someone. Seriously, this dream stressed me out until at least the second cup of coffee that morning.

Then 45 minutes ago when I awoke at 3:30 AM, I was again having no trouble remembering a dream fragment. ........ a disturbing dream fragment.

The setting for this dream sequence was outside among grass covered hills. The wind cycled up and down moving the grass in gentle green waves as it often does out among the tall grasses. I was in a shack located in a large grass depression with  people lining its perimeter. I was handed a big ass sword like the Templar Knights swung back in the day. Then unceremoniously I was shoved out of the shack. I could barely pick the damn sword up, it was so heavy. I looked around the grass clad arena lined with screaming fans rooting for a hero who was not me. They were not calling my name. The name they hollered was unintelligible. It only took me a second to realize I was the asshole everyone wanted dead.

I felt totally lost. But I was here and obviously here to get into a sword fight. I looked out and around this basin lined with characters from a Mad Max movie. On the other side there was another shack similar to the one I had been so rudely ejected from. I did not need to be told, but this is where my opponent must be. 

I was not wrong. The door opened and out stepped a largish fellow, maybe ten feet tall and looking like an apocryphal badass. In his hands was not a sword. He was armed with an AR15 type weapon. It looked like a toy in his massive mitts. The last thing I remembered after he shot me in the chest from fifty feet away was how unfair this was. 

So I sit in front of the computer screen typing away less than an hour after being shot in my dream. I do not remember ever being seriously harmed in a dream. Every dream it seems, I come out of it with nary a scratch. I also do not remember ever purposefully hurting anyone in my dreams; Fighting sure, but never any real damage done to anyone. 

I wonder if my increased levels of anxiety is because of the last five years of world wide turmoil that has shaken the reality I thought I lived in. Did the last decade finally rattle my perception that I had control over my destiny. And now do my dreams reflect this dark foreboding that has crept into my soul?

So, I may be wrong with my half assed analysis here, but one thing I know. Life is not fair out here in Reality. And so it seems Life is not fair in my dreams either.

Keep it 'tween the ditches ..............................


Could not decide on music so I picked three tunes for this post.

  • "Mr Sandman" - The Chordettes. I loved this tune when I was eight. Still do.
  • "Dreams" - Cranberries - I have always liked Dolores' voice.
  • "Dream On" - Aerosmith - Never was a huge fan of these guys, but I do like this song.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Oh Happy Day


No more fertile ground for Hope exists 

Than in a land living in Despair.

Got up on the down side of the bed yesterday morning. The first words I thought were something akin to the above. My second thought was I probably should not watch the news this morning............. So I thought writing poetry might soothe my anxiety. 

I came up with the first two lines in a jiffy. They just fell out of my brain and onto the page. A few moments of clarity later I came up with:

All hope is never lost. 

It is only misplaced.

And then I ran into turbulence. It seemed I had written a beginning and an ending with nothing in the middle. The next five or six lines were written, scratched out, moved up, moved down, and eventually kicked out. Any clarity I had was gone, leaving only the residual ashes of its passing. Instead of shit canning my effort to that point, I created the Facebook message above and posted it. 

A half assed effort beats a blank I guessed. I made some coffee and forgot about it.

This morning my eyes popped open at 3:00 AM. I felt neither down nor up. I was just awake and could not go back to sleep. I tried, but failed. And then I remembered that last night was the first night my coughing from a recent cold had not interrupted my sleep. I had successfully slept for over five hours straight. 

Oh Happy Day.

I considered returning to my recent fragments of the poem from yesterday. While I was considering, I scrolled through my Facebook comments, hates, and likes. Someone had liked my picture message from yesterday. I punched it up so I could remind myself what I had posted. 

I did like it, even after 24 hours. But I felt it was incomplete. So I created a collage that incorporated the only lines of that poem I had saved as being worthy of any consideration of any kind. What I came up with was this:

And that is what will carry me through my day today. A message that no matter how fucked up things might seem, I can count on them changing. Nothing lasts forever, not even bad times.

Later ...........................................

Musical choice this beautiful morning was uncharacteristically harder than it should have been. I immediately considered almost any song by Donovan. The man wrote the most upbeat music of my youth. My mistake was trying to find a Donovan song that was narrowly focused enough to fit the above message collage. .............. After listening to too many Donovan tunes, I came upon "Sunshine Super Man". Hmm.......... Almost, but not quite. 

I re-played "Season of the Witch" and realized it was the tune. But instead, of the original with Donovan, I was about to pick a great cover by Mike Bloomfield, Stephen Stills and Al Kooper on their "Super Sessions" album. 

Their cover was fantastic. But I retraced my steps and also chose the original "Season of the Witch" . Instead of one choice, I am offering two versions of the same song.  Enjoy .............

Sunday, May 15, 2022

The Man in the Tree

I first met the Man in the Tree ten or so  years ago. I was standing in front of the garage adoring my 28 year old John Deere 445 lawn tractor. 

"Hey asshole."

 The deep gravelly voice made me jump. I turned around and no one was there.

"What was that?"

"Yeah, I'm talking to you standing there with your commemorative Iowa Tractor Fair John Deere hat parked on your noggin. ..... So, do you have a belt buckle to match?"

I was unnerved.  My skin crawled. I could feel my heartbeat pick up its pace.  I walked over to the side of the garage and peeked around the corner.  Nothing there.  

"Where and who the Hell are you?'

"Behind you jerk wad."

I turned around and stared.  Nothing there but shrubs, a house and .......... what a minute, did I just see the bark move on the Weeping Cherry?

"Yeah, I live in this tree.  Been here at least the last 50 laps around the Sun."

I couldn't speak.  My mouth fell open.  Why I never noticed him before was.........  I watched his bark flex and bend as he began his story.

Turns out his name was Charlie. I asked him why it was Charlie, but he ignored my question. Charlie had been living in that tree in my dooryard since he was a sapling.

"How come you never spoke up before?"

His bark crinkled just right to make it look like he was glaring at me.

"Tree People don't waste their time talking to Humans because frankly, we think you all are a bunch of assholes.....  Destructive and selfish assholes at that."

My heart had slowed down; I had collected myself. I was able to respond in a normal voice.

" I can't argue with you there Charlie. We are indeed assholes who have treated you and your kind horribly. .... I'd say we were ignorant and didn't understand the damage we were doing. But I can't. Enough of us know full well we humans are collectively a bunch of self centered thoughtless parasites who think the bounty the planet offers is limitless and who cares if it isn't anyway, we gonna get ours, screw everyone else."

The bark over Charlie's eyes settled some into a softer and kinder countenance as he realized he had found a sympathetic ear. Several minutes went by before he responded. Turns out most trees weigh everything they say carefully, giving each word enough time and consider to make the point they want to make with as few words as possible. They hate being caught with a root in their mouth. But not Charlie. Charlie just could not keep his trap shut. ...... 

"Among my peers, I am still considered a kid. The other trees still call me a brainless punk who cannot or will not keep his trap shut. And even though I knew it was never a good idea to get trapped into a conversation with a stupid Human, after 50 years, I just could not bite my tongue any longer. I am tired of being a tree suffering in silence."

"So you wait until you've got one root in the grave to speak up, huh?" 

Before he could answer, I added, "Between the rot and the Pileated Woodpeckers, it looks like you ain't long for this world, Charlie." 

The bark over his eyes shifted again as he crinkled his brow and wondered if  he had been insulted or not. A dead branch broke free and just missed my head. I realized then I had touched a nerve.

"Well, not all you humans can have conversations with trees. All of you used to be able to back in the day. Now only a select few are allowed into our conversations."

I accepted that I could talk to trees because well, one was talking to me and I had not consumed any hallucinogens for more than a few years, so I asked, "Back in the day?"

"Yeah, according to the big Maple across from our dooryard, you Humans bred out your natural connections to the planet around 100,000 years ago when notions like property, tribalism, and greed infiltrated your minds. It took awhile, but here you are finally evolved into flaming assholes who consume way more than you put back. There is not a plant on the planet that likes you.  Hell, you can't even get along with yourselves."

Charlie went completely silent at that point and did not speak to me again for several weeks. The morning after the last of his blossoms had disappeared, he caught me throwing some demo in the trailer I take to the dump. He picked up right where we left off as if no time had passed since we last spoke.

Out of thin air I hear, "And you know what the real crime here is? You humans are in the driver's seat. There is a good chance your fate is our fate. And I gotta tell you, trees are not holding out much hope for a positive outcome."

I turned and looked Charlie in the one eye that was in permanent squint. 

"Me neither Charlie. Me neither."

Again only one song came to mind when I finished writing this. Here is Joni Mitchell singing "Big Yellow Taxi" at an outdoor festival in Great Britain in 1970. 

PS - I began this post ten years ago and dropped it not even half way in. It's a done deal now. Not sure how I feel about it.

The Weeping Cherry is not what it is officially called. My dad planted it in 1967 and he called it a Weeping Cherry. My next door neighbor who is more of a plant person told me once what it really was. I immediately forgot what she said. It will always be a Weeping Cherry to me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

White Bread Days

I found this image on one of my walks through the backwoods of Facebook yesterday. I would have forgotten about it and the comment I made except for the number of likes I received. I re-visited the post to try and discern why so many people found this painting interesting. 

It was found at  a yard sale somewhere I do not know. But I can understand why it was in a yard sale. There are a multitude of reasons why I would not have bought it on first sight. As I took the time to really look at it, I decided it was so bad , it was great. And I wished that I could own it. 

This painting spoke to me like a modern Norman Rockwell painting that reflects the change in America since the "Leave it to Beaver" days when Life was pleasantly lived in tree lined Caucasian cookie cutter neighborhoods and a guy in a white uniform delivered milk twice a week. Nothing ugly ever happened; any unpleasantness being confined to folks living on the other side of the tracks, river, or valley. 

Fast Food existed then, but it had not found its footing yet. American consumers had not become the monsters they would turn into over the ensuing thirty years. Hitting a burger joint in the 1950's was a once a week treat at best if we lived in the 'burbs, possibly once a lifetime if we lived in Puckerville, Maine. The majority of the meals the family ate were at home after a prayer and Dad carving the roast Mom had so lovingly devoted her afternoon to create.

Those were the days many of us Boomers look back on with rose colored glasses. It was a time when it was okay to deny the ugly parts of our past, our present, our legacy. The Civil War was a noble war, workhouses were an aberration, and the Rich were kindly folks who gave to the poor at least around Christmas. Yeah, those were the days alright. Those were the White Bread Days.

For the most part, this was the America I existed in as a child. Because my military family was so transient and the fact both of my parents could not settle anywhere for long, I did find much of the ugly that existed in the background of the American Apple Pie world found in Chevrolet ads on the Ed Sullivan Show. My eyes were opened earlier than many kids my age. My mind was not conditioned by years of local indoctrination from growing up in one locale. I sampled many. Not one area was completely bad, but none of them were as idyllic as the local chamber of commerce painted them out to be.

So, how did I get from remarks about a painting depicting Ronald, Wendy, the Colonel and Meghan of Popeyes engaged in pre-supper prayer thanking the Lord for the fast food bounty before them? 

Initially, when the painting spoke to me, it focused on wistful memories of times gone by and how our world has morphed into the rabid dog eat dog pace we live in now. It went on to point out the rise of our fast food culture reflects and supports our current mania. 

When I tried to consider what the prayer thing was , well, that's when the painting went over the edge and has now settled into a predictable commentary on how we white folk are wishing for something that will never exist again and we need to stifle the lies we told ourselves in the  past and not let them ruin our future. 

Accepting that sooner than later would be what we should do. But we never do what we should do unless it is shoved down our throats by necessity. And by then it is often too late.

The Male Dominated Caucasian America we live in now is going to fail. Sadly, too many Peckerwoods do not get it. Trying to preserve something that is circling the drain is an exercise in futility.

Sure is funny what a painting tells me when I look at it too long.

Keep it 'tween the ditches .......................................


Now we come to the musical choice of the scatter brained word salad above...............

Only one tune came to mind ....  "Changes", By David Bowie. It took me some time to embrace Bowie back in the 1970's. He was well entrenched as a Rock icon when I did get behind him. Anyway, "Changes" may be my favorite Bowie tune. 

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Prince of Darkness

I never liked to use the word "the Devil" as a name for the corporeal representation of Evil we have been programmed to believe lives and rules in underground caverns populated by dead multitudes of evil doers our various factions of Christianity have decided were sinners whose only sin was well, almost everything they did.

In my mind, the word "Devil" conjures images of a cute little red guy who inhabits the outside of small cans of various foods. The insinuation is "devilishly" good food exists inside and it's almost a sin to eat it. As a youngster, I consumed the contents of many said cans with , wait for it, ... a fork. Apparently I was doomed to the fires of Hell before I was ten.

The name "Lucifer" sounds like the name of some dude you might remember from that last Kegger or Rave but cannot place his face even when shown a picture. He's the guy you sit next to on the bus who always stares at his feet and only listens to his I Pod with one ear bud because he wants to hear the trouble coming with the other ear. His name might be Lucifer, but everyone calls him Luke, because calling him by his full name might possibly be tempting fate, which is always out there waiting to screw up our day.

I prefer the word "Satan". The word "Satan" exudes wickedness and champions the evil he is accused of. It is a word best whispered in dimly lit rooms where people in dark robes form circles and chant rock tunes backwards while rubbing lard on each other's naughty bits. ..... Well. something like that anyway. The image changes day to day , week to week and is always at its best when I hear church bells ring.

But most often, when I build up an image of Satan in my mind, I see a dark lord parked in a fiery barco-lounger sporting sharpened teeth and the best tats in any world, above ground or below. Idly as if he is bored, he casually impales humans rectum first on rusty crooked spears and dips them into pools of fire. After a good dipping and swishing around, Satan bites their heads off and washes their leftover grit and gristle down with copious amounts of their blood lapped up out of human skulls. A kind of Under World version of a fondue party.

"Beelzebub" would be a satisfactory stand in for "Satan", if "Satan" was not available. But as "Satan" is available, any further discussion regarding the name "Beelzebub" is moot. Besides. "Beelzebub" is an anachronism from back in the days when humanity couldn't make up a coherent word to save their lives. Too many e's and the suffix "bub" gives the name a kind of Good Ole Boy slant, which in my mind does not conjure up a fearsome countenance sporting red eyes and forked tongue.

And finally we come to the PC name entry; "Prince of Darkness". I am not sure what feel good bonehead thought this name up, but they certainly did nothing to keep the fear and loathing of Evil at the high pitch we humans need it to be in order for us to toe the line drawn up by God. It is a name for the light weights, the polite society helicopter parents who don't want their children to think bad of anyone, not even Satan. When I think of the name Prince of Darkness, I imagine a fairy tale Princess with horns to die for giggling as her man "the Prince" fits a lost shoe on her left hoof. 

These are but a few of the many names used that personify the acts of Evil humanity heaps on itself 24/7, 365 days a year. It boggles my mind that some of us actually believe this poster child of the wickedness in our world actually exists. I cannot say with certainty though that they are wrong. Just as I cannot say that God exists either. What I can say is I doubt either one is watching us too closely. That we are still here after all these years, neither Good nor Evil have conscientious stewards who give a shit about the puny efforts of a puny species to rise above the spiritual squalor they exist in.

Should have saved this post for a Sunday. Oh well, Saturday works. Later .......................


Just as there are an infinite number of names and images of  Satan out there for our imaginations to chew on, there is just about as many tunes written over the course of Human history that are about or mention Him/Her. I did not need to search for a tune however. There is only one song that popped into my mind. It is a tune by Procol Harum from the early 1970's. I bought the vinyl version of "A Salty Dog" out of the back of a music store van that stopped weekly at the gas station I pumped gas at. The driver restocked the 8-track rack that nestled next to the snack rack in the office. He also carried thousands of vinyl albums for record stores on his route. He charged me $1.50 per album, cash. I did not save much money that summer. I wore that album out quickly and had to buy another. Damn, I love that album.

With no further to do, undo, or ado for that matter, here is "The Devil Came From Kansas". Again I advise tuning it up to wow as a good choice.


Disclaimer - I more often than not, knee jerk these posts into existence relying on the random thoughts that so often overwhelm my mind. I try to make them coherent with as many grammatical and spelling errors repaired as possible. BUT - I don't waste too much time. This is Fun writing. And Fun writing does not always stay between the lines.

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Going Into Service

May 1st was my father's birthday. I had an almost finished post honoring the day he never did. He thought celebrations for the most part were needless activities aimed at feeding egos, either personal or a group's. ...... Damn, that paints a curmudgeon-esk image of him. .................. Yeah, he could be one, that's for sure, but like most people he was not one dimensional. As a matter of fact his turbulent waters ran deeper than most still waters did. 

So, I had finished my initial draft of my tribute to him on what would have been his 117th birthday. I read through it and decided I had already waxed poetic on how grand a man he was. I had already shared some of his life's high points and some of his lows; at least the ones I learned about or witnessed. I relegated the post to draft status and got on with my day.

This morning, while I was perusing the comically large number of images I have felt the need to store on my computer, I came upon a favorite file marked "Family". I opened it and found this image of my dad as a younger version of the man I knew as a child. The caption I had embedded in the image file stated;

"Dad, 1928, working his way through college as a waiter at Wesleyan"

My first impression was the picture reminded me of "Downton Abbey", the British series I had just finished watching. And then I thought of the one character in that series that Dad and his situation reminded me of the most. It would have to be Tom Branson, who started as a chauffeur in Season 1, then married into the family he drove for and became one of the good ole boys of the Downton Abbey elite. 

In the early part of the twentieth century, there was essentially no publicly supported assistance programs to help families who fell on hard times. Any support usually fell on the shoulders of the extended families or the church they attended. 

My dad was born in 1905 to a family with well to do roots. They were not filthy rich , but could claim lineage back to the first farts of Pennsylvania and the land granted them by William Penn in the late 1600's. By the late 1890's, any family fortunes once in play had been either fiddled away or taken away through political ill will and jealousy of others more powerful than they were. The family had dropped several tiers in Pennsylvania society circles by the late 1800's, but were still respectably set with some land holdings and making their livings as top notch professionals in various fields.

My grandfather was busy establishing himself as a young doctor in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area around the turn of century. Less than eight years and two children later when my dad was seven, my grandfather died of either a blocked colon or appendicitis, depending on which source to believe. His obituary claimed appendicitis. My dad and my Aunt Helen claimed a blocked colon. Regardless, he died before his time and left a young widow with two children. Without any real skills to depend on, prospects in continuing the comfortable lifestyle they had been accustomed to changed dramatically.  They went from life in a large stand alone home in Sewickley, Pennsylvania to a very modest walk up row house in Camden, New Jersey. The extended family pulled together enough to provide housing and food, but anything more than that was basically up to the three of them to figure out. Dad began working as soon as he could lift a rake. 

Which brings me back to the picture. 

My father grew up on the perimeter of the snooty upper class of early 20th century Pennsylvania. He floated in and around that society unnoticed or ignored by his snobbish relatives. He claimed he never minded because his mom knew that their life would be much worse without that perfunctory connection. He grew up with access to many of the same benefits his high brow relatives had. 

Dad figured out quickly that becoming a servant of some type was a smart move. The deep pockets in the eastern United States at that time were trying hard to emulate their boorish royal peers across the pond in England.  "Going into service", as it was called, often offered higher pay than other hand labor jobs at the time.

His upper class connections got him in the door of Silver Bay School for Boys on Lake George in New York. The cost was prohibitive at $750 a year but with some financial help from relatives and his time waiting tables at the school, he made it through with excellent grades and more access to even higher education at Wesleyan College, where a scholarship paid his tuition, room, and board. He continued to wait tables at the college and was able to send money home.

I cannot imagine the sacrifices my grandmother made to see her son become a well respected officer in the Army Air Corp. But then I realize my grandmother did the same thing for her daughter, my Aunt Helen. Young women existing in the unforgiving social circles back then did not go to school beyond high school at the most. My grandmother and Aunt Helen figured out how to pay for her first year at Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. Scholarships paid the rest of her way.

Aunt Helen's and my father's success is not a rags to riches tale. It is though, a story of putting noses to the grindstones and finding positive results as long one remains patient, determined, and slogs ahead. Their times came and when opportunity knocked they made sure they were home.

Unintentionally, I once again extolled how amazing my father was. I did not intend to, but well, there it is. At least this time I included my Aunt Helen, another amazing relative I was blessed to have had in my life.

I'll stop here .........................


Music for today's post........ Hmm.  Give me a moment or a few of them..................

It is time I stopped being angry at Cat Stevens. I removed him from my favorites list years ago when he agreed with the fatwa that was put out on Salman Rushdie in 1989. There are questions over whether he was treated fairly by the British Press at the time.  I have always loved his music. I will now begin to love it again............... "Father and Son", by Cat Stevens. When I first bought "Tea for the Tillerman" in the early 1970's, this song always reminded me of my father.

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Forced Birth is a Weapon of Control

I am reminded of a game where one team sits despondent, knowing they have been defeated and just wish the clock would run out and they could hit the showers. That was the first thought that came to mind when I read that a draft of the Supreme Court's apparently successful effort to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked to the press. Though not official yet, it is only a matter of cleaning up the opinions, typing them out and signing them before a precedent just shy of fifty years old is tossed in the shitter.

And now what happens? A small but persistent minority has again made Abortion the number one story in the US. The many more deserving stories have been pushed down below the fold, or worse, the back page. The political players on each side are just warming up for the upcoming torrent of fiery rhetoric of anger or victory aimed at their adversaries.  And once again the people are distracted to issues of ideology that will never be resolved. 

 No one should be surprised at this recent turn of events. We should have anticipated this from a Supreme Court the Right has turned into a political organization and not a judicial one. 

For far too long, the leaders of this country have created controversy over ideological issues rather than doing their job, which is to actually govern. And once again, an issue that deserves far less attention than it deserves is still not resolved. Why? Because it never will be resolved. There will always be Pro-Birthers trying to own women's bodies and there will always be Pro-Choicers fighting for the right of a woman to rule her own body. 

Besides the religious fanatics who push their hateful anti choice rhetoric through what they imagine a great creator believed,  the secular leaderships who push Pro-Birth of many state legislatures are using the issue as another way of keeping the historically poor and needy, poor and needy. Forced Birth is but another weapon of control of the Right Wing to continue its quest to limit the rights of the individual in favor of the few who hold the purse strings. Any claim that Pro-Birth is about the sanctity of Life loses its impact when looking at the damage done to the most vulnerable populations of the lower income levels.

I found it interesting that one estimate now is that 26 states are probably going to push some kind of law directly related to Abortion. All 26 states are Red states ruled by Republican majorities. And of the States that depend on Federal dollars the most to make ends meet, nine out of the top ten are Red states. Forcing more children on families already tapped out sucks more money out of the federal assistance programs in place. Sadly the Pro Birth states are the ones who are the stingiest with help for neediest living within their borders. Nine out of the top ten states with the highest poverty rates are Red States. 

Is it a coincidence that states with the most restrictive Abortion laws also sport the higher poverty levels?  Personally, I don't think so. 


Music on this topic, well, I have never looked for music about abortion. I am sure there is some. ........ I will get back to you. ....................... Yes, there are many tunes about Abortion. 

I picked "Til it Happens to You", by Lady Gaga. Not about abortion directly but a song about one of the many reasons access to abortions should not be infringed. The video and the tune are very powerful.